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PIB row: 'Fact Check will not be done by PIB, Centre yet to decide', clarifies Union Min Chandrashekhar

The clarification came as multiple media reported that the organisations have to remove their content from the platform if fact-checking agency declares the content as fake news

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Published on: April 07, 2023 21:37 IST
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Image Source : PTI Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar

A day after a major controversy erupted following a Centre's notification over the fake news, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar clarified that the rules do not mention "PIB Fact Check" as the agency that would declare or classify news content as "fake news".

The clarification came as multiple media reported that the organisations have to remove their content from the platform if fact-checking agency declares the content as fake news. The matter also turned political as several Opposition parties called it the "draconian laws" and demand the centre to withdraw the legislation.

"Misunderstood"

Earlier, it was understood that the fact-checking agency would be the Press Information Bureau (PIB). Notably, PIB is the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements.

It functions as an interface between the Government and the media and also serves to provide feedback to the Government on people’s reactions as reflected in the media.

However, on Thursday, several media reported that as per the amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 social media platforms and other intermediaries will now have to make sure that "fake news" articles about the Centre, declared as such by PIB, are taken down from their platforms once alerted.

"PIB will not be the fact-checking agency"

The minister said that the rules do not suggest that the agency declaring fake news will be PIB Fact Check. "The rules do not at all suggest that it's going to be PIB Fact Check. I think some of the grey area, or indeed the misapprehension, comes from the fact that the original draft of the rule that went for consultation talked about PIB Fact check. The rules that were notified yesterday do not mention PIB Fact Check," Chandrashekhar told ANI.

He said, "So we have yet to take a decision on whether it will be a new organization that has trust and credibility associated with it, or do we take an old organization and repurpose it to build trust and credibility in terms of a fact-checking mission."

Editor's Guild of India also condemn the laws

Earlier today, the Editor's Guild of India-- a non-profit organisation of journalists-- in a statement, expressed grave concerns over the new IT Amendment Rules notified by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and called the rule "draconian laws" to suppress the freedom of media in the country.

"The government has given itself absolute power to determine what is fake or not, in respect of its own work, and order takedown," the statement said.

Also Read: Donald Trump arrested? Twitter stormed with chilling AI deepfakes purporting ex-US Prez escaping arrest

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